Memories of WWII

Whitehawk School shelters

By Leslie Richards

It is July 2005 and I have just returned to Canada where I now live after spending 4 weeks in the U.K. My visit this year had an unexpected but very nostalgic event to it that I am going to share with you. There will be many of you out there who will be in awe as I was.

You see, I have a niece who works at WHITEHAWK PRIMARY SCHOOL and she told me that the old air-raid shelters that were built at the back of what was the Senior Boys and Girls school had been opened up. Of course I asked if there was any chance of my seeing them. My niece made enquires and it was arranged with the site manager (Dudley Button) to escort my niece and my wife and I through the shelters.

We couldn't believe how after 60 years of being closed up they were unchanged. Dudley had found and purchased such items as a gas-mask, a helmet, a stirrup-pump, water bucket and many other items relating to the war years. A showcase of cannon shells, bullets, identity card and other memorabilia pertaining to those days. There were framed extracts from the school log telling the date and time of an air raid and how long it lasted. Dudley even played a tape of a typical air raid with gunfire and bombs exploding. It really was as though time had stood still and we were once again kids in that shelter.

There must be many other people still around that spent time in them and would like to see them. Although Dudley didn't experience the war years spent in the shelters he is very knowledgeable on these particular ones. It was a privilege for us to be taken on the tour and my wife and I send Dudley a big thank you and three cheers for Whitehawk School. You have as good a wartime tourist attraction as any other wartime site.

Added to the site on 18-08-05 
This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page

My mother's name is June Piper. She lived in Rifle Butt Road and Whitehawk Road as a child. Today she came to lunch and was talking about how she used to be in charge of looking after the air raid shelter at Whitehawk school. She would go into school early everyday and put fresh water etc into the shelters, and back at night to take it out and tidy up. This eveningĀ I stumbled on your great website. Thanks.

By Lynne Godden (15/11/2006)

I went to all three schools, when in the seniors in the late sixties. I always wondered what the air raid shelters were like. I will have to visit them soon, also is the Dudley Button the one and only PC Button. the local bobby?

By peter bridger (22/09/2010)

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